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Doctors Without Borders hospital in Yemen hit by missile; four people killed

By Fred Lambert Contact the Author   |   Jan. 10, 2016 at 2:54 PM

SAADA, Yemen, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- Doctors Without Borders said Sunday a missile struck one of its hospitals in northern Yemen, killing at least four people.

At least 10 people were injured in the attack, which the organization, also known as Medecins Sans Frontieres, said was directed at the Shiara Hospital in Saada province's Razeh district.

While the origin of the attack could not be confirmed, MSF employees on the ground said aircraft were flying over the facility at the time.

The BBC reported three MSF staff members were injured, two critically. MSF, which describes itself as an "international, independent, medical humanitarian organization that delivers emergency aid to people affected by armed conflict, epidemics, natural disasters and exclusion from healthcare," has operated at the facility since November 2015.

Saada province is a stronghold of Yemen's Houthi rebels, who took over much of the country last year, forcing President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi to take refuge in Saudi Arabia.

Hadi has reportedly returned on two occasions to the southern port city of Aden, however, after the Saudis began leading a regional coalition of Sunni states in March 2015 in an air and ground campaign against the Houthis, who are aligned with Shia Islam.

"All warring parties, including the Saudi led coalition, are regularly informed of the GPS coordinates of the medical sites where MSF works, and we are in constant dialogue with them to ensure that they understand the severity of the humanitarian consequences of the conflict and the need to respect the provision of medical services," Raquel Ayora, MSF director of operations, was quoted as saying in a statement. "There is no way that anyone with the capacity to carry out an airstrike or launch a rocket would not have known that the Shiara Hospital was a functioning health facility providing critical services and supported by MSF."

MSF noted this is the third such attack on an MSF facility in Yemen in as many months. Last month nine people were injured when an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition struck a MSF-supported hospital in the al-Houban district of Taiz. In late October, a small MSF hospital was destroyed by an airstrike in the Haydan district of Saada province, which borders Saudi Arabia.

Earlier in October, a U.S. airstrike launched on behalf of Afghan forces fighting to retake the city of Kunduz, Afghanistan, from the Taliban struck an MSF hospital in the city, killing more than 40 people, including 14 MSF staff members.

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